ARCHIVE FOR The Writing Life

How to Deal with Setbacks in the Creative Process

It can be disheartening to hit a stumbling block when working on a piece of writing. But GrubStreet Instructor Ben Berman helps us see how setbacks are often a natural and necessary part of the creative process.

 

The other day I was cooking dinner when my five-year-old crawled on over to me. Goo-goo, ga-ga, she said, putting her arms in the air. I picked her up and patted her back until she burped.

June 13, 2018 | Ben Berman

The Writing Life

Books that Made You a Reader

In the "Books that Made You" series, we're taking a look at the books that made us who we are. To kick off the series, we asked you what book made you a reader. After scrutinizing our highly scientific social media poll, we present to you this non-exhaustive list of Grubbie-approved gateway reads.

 

Because nobody can resist a listicle, we've listed the most popular titles in a crowd-pleasing top five countdown

June 12, 2018 | Sarah Colwill-Brown

Books & Reading The Writing Life

How Much Influence do Authors Have in Designing their Book Covers?

Book covers are supposed to draw readers in and convey the gist of a book. Bottom line: they're important. But how much say do traditionally published authors actually have in their book's cover design? 

 

We famously judge a book by its cover. Nabokov's dark and controversial book Lolita is a great example of how covers can mislead readers (see this New Yorker article)

June 6, 2018 | Katrin Schumann

Books & Reading Grub News The Writing Life

What a Poet Can Take from the Muse and the Marketplace

It's never too early to start mentally prepping for next yearMuse and the Marketplace Conference! Get a jump on your #Muse19 strategy with this advice for poets and first-timers from GrubStreet's Development Assistant, Serina Gousby.

May 29, 2018 | Serina Gousby

Grub News The Writing Life

The Secret to a Great Arc

Make your characters want something right away, wrote Vonnegut, even if it’s only a glass of water.

 

And as soon as we pick my four-year-old up from pre-school and strap her into her car seat, she tells us that she wants some water.

 

But a narrative, at its most basic level, is driven by the relationship between what a character wants and the obstacles in their way, and it just so happens that my daughter’s water bottle is empty.

May 9, 2018 | Ben Berman

Craft Advice The Writing Life